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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in
Anglo-Saxon England

The Franks Casket

Length: 22.900 cm
Width: 19.000 cm
Height: 10.900 cm

The Franks casket

From: Northumbria, England
Date: first half of 8th century AD

This whalebone box is beautifully carved. Each side tells a different story, clearly carved in pictures as well as written alongside in Anglo-Saxon runes.

This is a view of the front of the casket. The picture on the left is from a popular story about an Anglo-Saxon hero called Weland. Weland was a blacksmith who loved getting bloodthirsty revenge on his enemies. Here he is offering a princess a cup to drink made from her brother's head. Can you see the prince's body on the floor?

The right side shows the three wise men visiting the baby Jesus. Look for the word 'Magi' in runes above their heads.